Nothing speaks more about who you are and where you come from than a wall of family portraits in your home. Family photographs are more than images of loved ones – they are reflections of your history and contain the keys to important lifecycle events that your family has shared.
Family photos give a space a jolt of personality and interest. And because they tell a story, it is a wonderful idea to create a space, for exactly that purpose. I have clients who are religiously observant, congregating each Sabbath in one particular room of their home. We chose to create a family gallery wall in just that space, so that their most enjoyable activity, every Friday night, is a warm and lively discussion of heritage and history. And they often share these moments with guests, enabling them to share some of their special stories.
For starters, choose your best photos and find the right spot to display them. Do not use frames that are meant to stand on a table – they do not hang properly and will stick out from the walls! Avoid walls that get direct sunlight as they may cause your images to fade. If you have one, a staircase is the perfect spot to create your family gallery. If that isn’t possible, make sure to replace the glass in your frames with a sheet of protective UV filtered acrylic, available at most framing stores. Be sure that you have all the right tools available – a level, measuring tape, hammer, a sharp pencil and good picture hooks, which are less damaging to your walls than nails. Treat these photographs as pieces of art-they have an intrinsic value and can be passed down to other family members.
And with respect to framing and creating your collection – there is “no one right answer”. Some people prefer their photos to be mounted and framed exactly the same, for a unified and visually uncluttered mix. Others, like to mix and match, creating a work of art out of each photo. I happen to be in the latter camp and enjoy sometimes even add mirrors to the space, allowing the viewer a chance to see their own reflection in the collection. But again, there are so many great ways to create a collection.
But even with a properly stocked toolbox, any veteran picture hanger knows there is no substitute for a fresh pair of eyes! So grab a friend, family member or a professional interior decorator, who can stand back and help assess your photo selection and placement. Creating a family portrait gallery is a labor of love – make an investment in your photos and your frames,d and you will love them all the more.